The Remarkable Life and Times of Eliza Rose

The Remarkable Life and Times of Eliza Rose

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by Mary Hooper

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Ousted from her family by her new stepmother, Eliza Rose makes her way to London - only to be thrown straight into prison for stealing a mouthful of bread. Her life takes some remarkable twists as she is rescued and befriended by the infamous actress Nelly Gwyn. Nelly introduces her to the courtly intrigue, politics, and glamour of the court of King Charles II, as…  See more details below


Ousted from her family by her new stepmother, Eliza Rose makes her way to London - only to be thrown straight into prison for stealing a mouthful of bread. Her life takes some remarkable twists as she is rescued and befriended by the infamous actress Nelly Gwyn. Nelly introduces her to the courtly intrigue, politics, and glamour of the court of King Charles II, as well as a handsome young man known as Valentine Howard. Eliza is smitten with him, yet their love cannot be, as she is only a lowly maid from the country and he is an aristocrat. But a twist of fate just may unravel a long-hidden secret that could bring them together after all.

Mary Hooper has created an incredibly detailed and exciting story that brings readers into the heart of 17th century London. With vibrant characters and non-stop action, this whirling, romantic tale is sure to become a favorite.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Beverley Fahey
The prologue sets the stage for the story that follows, telling the tale of a baby girl swapped at birth. The story continues fifteen years later when Eliza Rose is thrown out of her stepmother's home and arrives in London in search of her father, who is working as a mason rebuilding the city after the Great Fire. With no money or shelter, Eliza finds herself in Clink Prison. Her remarkable beauty catches the eye of Old Ma Gwyn, who sees the girl's potential for one of her nefarious sideshow schemes. Gwyn's daughter Nell, an actress cum prostitute, rescues her from her embarrassing role as a scantily clad mermaid and introduces her to the world of the theater. Eliza eventually becomes Nell's maid when she becomes mistress to the King (Charles II) and becomes privy to all the nuances of court intrigue in the 17th century. Eliza does finally find her father, only to be told she is in fact not his child—and she begins a quest to find her true identity. Indeed Eliza's life is remarkable, and eager readers will easily enter into her story of intrigue and romance. In her search for truth, Eliza helps a love-struck young lady of noble birth, must avoid the lecherous advances of Henry Monteagle, and secretly pines for the handsome nobleman Valentine Howard. The story skillfully blends mystery as Eliza unravels the circumstances of her birth, with the harsh reality of life among the lower echelon of London society that is in sharp contrast to life within the palace walls. All the sights, sounds, and smells of 17th century London come alive and draw the reader in, and the excellent writing keeps her riveted throughout. The fairy tale ending is the perfect reward for both Eliza Rose and thereader. Be forewarned that there is much mention of bawdy houses, loss of virginity, and sexual peccadilloes.
VOYA - Leslie Baker
London is a scary place to be in the seventeenth century, especially for Eliza Rose. After being forced out of her family's country home by her stepmother, Eliza makes her way to London. With no money and no one to turn to, she ends up being thrown into prison for stealing food. When Old Ma Gywn, keeper of a tavern and brothel in London, hears Eliza singing, she decides to pay the way for the country girl to get out of prison. Eliza eventually ends up as a maid to Nell, Ma Gywn's daughter and the newest mistress of King Charles II. Eliza is introduced to life at court and eventually secrets from her own past are discovered. This Cinderella-like tale revels in describing as many aspects of English life in the seventeenth-century London as possible. The colorful world described by the author is beautifully filled out, but the characters and story are two-dimensional and predictable. There are many descriptions of the sexual promiscuity of the nobles, although they are never explicit. Eliza provides a window into these actions but she never participates and is always rescued from any bad situation by someone else. This novel would make a comfortable read for fans of historical fiction and romances.
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-Hooper takes readers to 17th-century London in this novel about Eliza Rose, who is thrown out of her house by her stepmother. The prologue, set in 1655, tells of a girl baby being swapped at birth for a boy to please the father. The novel then jumps ahead 15 years. When Eliza arrives in London to search for her father, she steals some food and finds herself in Clink Prison, with its rats, sewage, lice, and deadly fever. While begging at the gate, she encounters handsome Valentine Howard. Their paths cross often, but both realize that love cannot be between a noble and a girl from the lower class. Old Ma Gwyn, the madam of a bawdyhouse, spots her and gets her released. When she promises Eliza to a young nobleman for one night, Nell Gwyn, Ma's infamous actress daughter, rescues her. Eliza is then swept into the world of the theater and the court of King Charles II. Nell, who unabashedly is mistress to many men, aspires to and succeeds at being the King's whore. In the end, a long-hidden secret is revealed when Eliza meets her real mother. The down-and-dirty side of the city comes alive through the author's descriptions of its sights, sounds, and smells. The novel is replete with historical people, events, and details, making it an exemplary work of historical fiction. This engrossing, fast-paced novel, with its determined, well-drawn protagonist, is a winning combination of history and fairy-tale tropes.-Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Eliza Rose-cast out by her stepmother and imprisoned in 17th-century London for stealing a meat pie-is rescued by Ma Gwyn from the clink because of her green eyes and black hair. The crafty Ma sees a future for Eliza that may include whoring. But the stubborn Eliza is rescued by Ma's daughter Nell, a vivacious actress and dancer who strives to be-and soon is-mistress to King Charles II, with Eliza as her companion and maid. While there's a lot of period detail, Eliza herself seems willfully naive and remarkably ignorant. Nell is the most vivid character, but she's drawn in broad strokes; there's more depth of feeling in the description of clothing and carriages than in that of any of the characters. Eliza's own story comes clear in a most fairytale-like ending complete with a possible suitor named Valentine. (cast of characters and places) (Historical fiction. 12-15)

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Product Details

Gardners Books
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Meet the Author

Mary Hooper began writing short stories for women's and teen magazines. She now focuses solely on books. She is the author of Amy, At the Sign of the Sugared Plum, and Petals in the Ashes. Mary lives in Eversley Cross, England.

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